There are thousands of businesses that are benefiting from using social proof to acquire customers, to close deals, to win clients. This clear benefit is becoming more and more difficult to ignore as digital marketing becomes a bigger part of the sales pipeline.
But what about the businesses that, until recently, had to rely on more traditional marketing methods? What if their pipeline was filled previously by taking direct marketing actions – either at tradeshows or cold calling? In these industries (like construction), social proof can be a foreign concept.
What Is Social Proof?
Everyone’s favorite modern encyclopedia (Wikipedia) has the best definition; “It’s the phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”
To put this in perspective, it’s likely that since you’re writing that winning construction proposal because you got a lead through a referral. Social proof is nothing more than your business capitalizing on a client’s first-hand account of their experience (a testimonial) and doing your own legwork to drum up more of that ‘referral’ business.
Prospects will look closely at your website, your sales collateral, and your construction proposal for proof from others that your company is the organization that a) gets things done and b) the one they should hire.
Social proof is a critical process in many businesses, but it’s especially important in B2B. Many businesses are already including customer testimonials – which are a great way to lay the foundations for solid social proof. However, there’s a bit more to social proof than just including quotes from previous clients.
In this article, we’ll discuss the impact of social proof in B2B and how you can design social proof to be effective and help your team increase their acceptance rate.
The Psychology Behind Social Proof
Also known as ‘informational social influence,’ social proof refers to the way in which individuals will follow the actions of the masses. This is a process that is driven by what is called “the natural herd mentality.” This natural, instinctual behavior explains the process where people see a large group of people doing something and become more likely to join.
Social Proof in B2B
B2B industries and services have never been more saturated, which makes choosing between similar offerings a challenging process for prospective clients. The last thing any prospect wants to do after countless hours of meetings is to make the wrong decision when they hire vendors or businesses.
It’s therefore your job to help prevent that from happening. All you have to do is leverage social proof to instill a relationship built on trust and your expertise/authority in your industry.
According to a study by G2 Crowd and Heinz Marketing, 92% of B2B buyers are much more likely to make a purchase after they read a trusted review.
Prospects are tight on time. Help them make an informed decision in the quickest way possible by incorporating social proof into your proposals.
The Social Proof Your Construction Proposal Needs
Now that you know the impact of social proof and the role it plays in winning business, let’s explore the different ways you can incorporate this strategy into your proposals!
Unlike many B2B businesses that operate in the software & tech industry, as a construction company, you won’t have space for user counts and community sizes in your proposals.
However, if you’ve worked with reputable clients or have been featured by leading industry publications, this is your opportunity to showcase that your offering is credible and of high quality workmanship.
Not every business has had the opportunity to work with an industry leader, so if your company has, here’s a chance to strengthen your social proof.
Awards and Recognition
In highly competitive industries like the construction industry, awards and recognition is given to businesses who regularly go above and beyond, setting industry standards.
These awards and recognition not only validate the quality of your offer, but they also serve to prove that you’re better than the competition.
For social proof being effective in construction proposals, there must be both trust and authenticity.
In an industry like construction, where the completion and excellence of important projects such as commercial and residential buildings; trust and authenticity are paramount.
One way to incorporate trust through authenticity is through customer testimonials because of their transparent nature.
Pro-tip: Research on “Truthiness” reveals that an effective way to strengthen the trust in customer testimonials is to put a face to the words.
It’s important to realize that customer testimonials can be much more than just a few words that summarize what your business offers. Dig a bit deeper and try to paint the story of the full experience of working with your past clients. A great example of this is a case study.
If your construction business conducts a case study on a past client, you can use this to present a story of how you owned the project, met timelines, and hit completion dates. Be sure to exhibit the transformation by showcasing a before and after.
Stories are ultimately more persuasive than statistics. Individual examples prime your prospective client to imagine themselves in your past client’s shoes during a story, which helps build trust.
Creating a compelling story can help potential clients realize their own latent needs and that your company is the solution.
We can all agree that the B2B space has been overcrowded in recent times. However, social proof has proven to offer businesses, including those within construction with the necessary edge to stand out amongst the pack. Adding diversity and depth to your social proof will no doubt expedite the selection process for your prospective client – providing you with quicker wins!
Ready to Win Your Next Proposal?
Excited to create your next beautiful proposal, but not sure where to start? Luckily, we have some stunning construction proposal templates – be sure to check them out here!